For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.Isaiah 9:6-7
Notice in this familiar passage what Isaiah emphasizes — the kingdom of the future will be characterized above all by justice and righteousness, something our world has yet to see! Our earthly kingdoms seek power through greed, war, oppression. Daily news shows how one political group or the other is making decisions based on their desire for power vs. what might be suitable for the people they serve. But this is not forever. There will be an end to earthly kingdoms!
God’s kingdom will advance, is advancing even now through justice, righteousness, and peace!
Justice in its simplest form means to set things right. Integral to God’s work of redemption is putting all things right so that we flourish under His rule and reign.
…at its core and in its very essence, God’s saving work, his redemptive activity, his goal for humanity and all creation is precisely this: that we flourish fully even as he himself flourishes perfectly, completely, and with overflowing abundance …Jonathan Pennington
How in this season of Advent can we join God in His redemptive plan to promote the flourishing of all? In our Bible study this week, the author of the study asked this question, “Who is flourishing because of your influence?”
In the original Biblical mandate, Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, told to be fruitful and multiply, and given dominion over their world. Jesus echoed and reinforced that mandate in what we call the Great Commission … Go into all the world (our dominion), make disciples (be fruitful and multiply), and do so with His authority (as His image-bearers).
Who are we to be? Image-bearers. What happens when we do this well? We bring the rule and reign of God to bear and the kingdom of God advances, filling the whole earth. As a result, people are blessed and all of creation flourishes.Courtney Doctor
In this season, we seek righteousness … acting justly, rightly, as we are taught throughout scripture, being holy because He is holy. We also show mercy that flows out of God’s great loving-kindness towards us … we love others as Christ loves us. And we walk in humility and faith with our God.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.Micah 6:8
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Father, we praise you that you are the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! And we thank you that you are reigning with justice and righteousness even now in our lives. What amazing grace is ours that you came as the babe of Bethlehem to set us free from sin, to rescue us from the dominion of darkness, and to open the way for human flourishing! So often, we get it all wrong – in our self-seeking, self-satisfaction, our greed, we are more concerned about the wrong of others than their flourishing. May we learn how to love as you love, to represent you well as your image-bearers, and in so doing, promote well-being and justice for all through your rightful reign. Amen.